I did have thoughts of melting it back down to make a cake filling but then some heavenly Rodda's clotted cream arrived…we made some scones…and ya know the cake can wait – for salted caramel and clotted cream scones came to me in a dream and turned into sweet reality! Obviously do not open it late at night under the cover of darkness with a spoon for you shall have sugary filled dreams but heck, better than a nightmare right?
Sunday, 9 March 2014
This sauce was born during one of those ‘you know you are a food blogger moments’ as it was nearly bedtime, and my mind was pondering at the sad thought of pouring away the last of the double cream that I was quite sure was to have been used by the previous day and then thought turned to twitter…and a little googling and both came up with the glorious suggestion I made Salted caramel sauce!
I’ve made caramel sauce before in the form of Rachel Allen’s heavenly toffee apple crumble and I have become extremely fond (read that as addicted) to salted caramel and decided to go ahead with making salted caramel sauce, and after telling B I was a little crazy as no I was not coming to bed, I was in fact making caramel sauce he just nodded and off I went downstairs in my pyjamas and set about dragging baskets out of the cupboards and making a lovely late night mess in the kitchen. During the process of stirring it, I managed to locate an empty jar under the sink for the sauce (that only faintly smelled of the sundried tomato chutney it previously held) and managed to successfully fill it perfectly to the top! Pure lucky coincidence!
The recipe is based on this one for a coffee version (to definitely be tried at a later date!) and we love it! Its unsurprisingly sweet with a subtle hint of salt that just works so amazingly well together. As the recipe is in cups I stuck mostly to it, the only odd measurement for me was tablespoons of butter - I just sort of gauged out the chilled butter!
Salt wise, I had a few different salts in the cupboard and initially thought I had picked up the tiny pot that remained of Maldon sea salt flakes but it turned out actually to be the salt crystals for refilling the grinder... Obviously I realised this after it went it but in all fairness it worked perfectly so just go with whatver you have! Saying that I bought some pretty rose pink tinted Himalayan salt this week so will try that next time!
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup Double cream
1/2 cup Light brown soft sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2tsp vanilla extract
In a small heavy saucepan melt the butter, add sugar, salt and cream, bring to the boil whisking constantly, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the vanilla, and pour into a sterlised jar.
Apparently it will keep in the fridge up to a month, if of course it lasts that long......
..And so to make amazing scones - I used Rodda's recipe which works perfectly - its just our oven takes a little bit longer so they don't get as large but they still taste great! I noticed on their website the eggwash bit is missing - beat an egg with a little sugar to glaze them prior to baking.
Top with clotted cream and a layer of the salted caramel sauce in whichever order you prefer!
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Winter still has us in its chilly grip but the daffodils are starting to bloom and Spring is in the air! I love seeing their bright sunny little heads burst into flower and think of warmer times ahead! Me and cold weather do not mix! However salads are not really going to cut it for a while yet and a warming dish, like my sausage and mustard casserole is just the thing to keep you warm inside! Packed full with sausages, soft tender barley and beans it will keep you full for hours and your tummy snugly and content.
I also feel I need to apologise I've been struggling lately to get my blog posts written up, sometimes its because I get downstairs and realise the note pad / camera/ pen are still upstairs, and as stairs are simply a menace to my knees to go back up, I abandon any blogging idea. Or at a later date and I can't find where I have written a recipe down. That on top of I simply the lack the energy to string more than a few sentences together to form a blog post someday's! As per this weeks meal planning post my health has been not too brilliant but I am trying to just pace myself, it just gets all a bit frustrating at times though but I will keeping trying! A lot of the food lately B has been eating as my appetite has been all over the place but hopefully when the new meds kick in I might feel a bit more level! I still love to look at food though so have been spending a lot of time tidying up my Pinterest boards - do head over and have a little drool whilst you are there!
So enough of my woes, this dish was originally developed using some Basics ingredients from Sainsbury's - I cook fairly budget friendly anyway but managed to switch several ingredients to basics ingredients very successfully and with no loss of flavour, definitely something I have carried forward into other dishes I make. I also used up some leftover potatoes and kidney beans from other meals so it was a tasty fridge raid casserole!
2 Basics Vegetable stock cubes in 1200ml boiling water
6 cumberland sausages
1 large carrot, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
120g cooked new potatoes, cubed
115g cooked kidney beans
1 large white onion, diced
6 tsp Basics honey (if like mine its gone a little too set simply zap in the microwave without the lid to melt!)
1.5 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp vegetable oil
150g pearl barley, soaked in water for at least two hours
In a large saute pan or casserole dish heat the oil and brown the sausages for about 10 minutes or until they have a nice golden colour. Transfer the sausages onto some kitchen paper, cut into 6 pieces each.
Fry the onion for about 3 minutes in the remaining oil, then add the carrots and celery, stirring regularly until all the veg is just softening - about 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle boil then cover and simmer gently for 2 hours.
Ladle into deep bowls or pasta plates and tuck in! It also reheats beautifully the next day too!
As this used up some stray leftover potatoes and kidney beans and some rather tired celery I am sending this over to the No Waste Food Challenge, held by Cooking Around the World this month:
Many thanks to Sainsbury's for supplying some of the ingredients. Disclaimer: I received vouchers to cover my time and ingredients to develop this recipe
Monday, 3 March 2014
Erm hello March where did you spring from? January went on for what seemed like forever, and then February vanished in a blink of the eye! I got completely thrown by the shorter month as I had a few things all with best before dates of the 1st of March and on Saturday I was scanning through the fridge thinking oh we will have the smoked mackerel tomorrow it doesn't go up till the 1st. Hmm it is the 1st! Anyway we ate it on the 2nd and to no harmful effects! We used it in a tasty pasta bake topped with the last of some stale bashed crackers and a generous scattering of cheese!
Last week's plan was hit and miss - The Harissa pork kebabs. Butternut Squash Israeli couscous with sultanas and almonds were all very delicious but Wednesday's planned Chinese Pork didn't happen, and in turn Thursday's leftovers was not possible, so instead we made a Chorizo and sweet potato rice one pot, which whilst was very tasty but I barely nibbled at mine... anyway we made loads and it fed B well for the next few lunches!..
..The week had started relatively well - halfway through I got another 'all clear' from the oncologist, always a relief (three years now!) but I was feeling a bit under the weather and struggling to get out of bed towards the end of the week - following a long awaited consultation they are working on the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, which explains so much and yet feels like a burden too. However presuming it is that, once some more prodding and poking to be done to rule out anything else, at least now I can move forward and deal with it rather than assuming everything was in my head and I was going slowly mad..! I am forever grateful to my loving friends and family who help me see the wood for the trees on the bad days!
Anyway hopefully this week will be more positive, I've just finished night shifts and not quite sure if right now its day or night but I start new medication tonight with regards to the working diagnosis, so hopefully will feel a bit brighter once that properly kicks in and I actually sleep through the night without tossing and turning in pain..! Roll on bedtime!!
So this weeks plan is roughly as follows - some of the brain fog and exhaustion is still tickling my veins but this makes relative sense right now so hopefully will happen fairly on plan!
Quesadillas - spinach, mozzarella and parma ham with Sweet potato wedges
Beef kofta masala with pilau rice. Vegetable curry
Green pesto and courgette spaghetti
Baked chicken legs with Polish seasoning and kaska barley
Spinach pizza with rocket, pine nut and sundried tomato salad
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Sometime last year on a day trip out, I think possibly Huntingdon way with my dad if my brain remembers correctly, I found in a little off licence these gorgeous almost glow in the dark green Crème de Menthe flavoured cocktail cherries! I had never seen them before or since then on the high street but I have found on the internet at least for when these run out! Though I probably need to order several jars to make my delivery charge more palatable! However I have spotted some others in the range that look intriguing so isn't too much of a hardship!
I spent a long time since buying them deciding what on earth I was going to actually do with them, and whilst the finished result was delicious it didn't really show off the e numbered glow but I still have half a jar left so a little more experimentation to be done I think!
The cake came out perfectly with a delicate hint of mint and a soft crumb - I had got B to drop a wedge off to my mum on his way to work and not long after had a text back asking for the recipe! Even without the cherries its a great bake and I hope you enjoy it as much too! I adapted from a recipe in one of favourite books titled 'Baking' which is sadly no longer in print but my go to book!
Makes one loaf cake
You will need a 2lb loaf tin, lined
2 eggs beaten
8 Crème de Menthe flavoured cocktail cherries, sliced
1 tbsp of the Crème de Menthe cherries liquid
50g plain chocolate, melted
Soft butter/ margarine
Pre-heat the oven to 180o/350f/ Gas 4
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and cherry liquid, fold through the flour until combined. Separate the mixture into two bowls and add the cocoa powder, cherries and melted chocolate to one of the mixes and combine.
Using alternate spoons fill the lined tin with both mixtures and swirl lightly. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer comes away cleanly when inserted.
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool fully.
Our golden rule is everything tastes better with custard but its also delicious without! The little pockets of chocolate mintyness makes for a delicious cake!
Monday, 24 February 2014
Apologies for skipping the meal plan last week, I had done a rough plan but was feeling overwhelmed by buying too much food in without a proper plan and I found myself staring into the fridge and my brain racing, wanting to make all sorts of things but struggling to settle on just one dish each night! I think some of it is maybe the last of some awful medication I had been on finally getting out of my system that induced temporary but hideous anxiety, good riddance to it too!! I also really like to plan on a Sunday for the week ahead but we had my mum over after finally the flood waters had gone down enough to get through to her
Anyway last week despite the constant indecision we had some pretty decent dishes including another vat of Curried Beetroot soup - finally B is convinced soup really isn't so bad, especially when croutons are present and I am trying to make soup weekly, to fill us up cheaply and healthily! This winter we have been quite indulgent and I know in the blink of an eye spring is almost upon us, and hopefully can we can get out in the fresh air, when my knees decide to behave anyway that is! Last week mainly involved finishing off a glorious South African Milktart we made on Valentine's Day, which was a taste of home for B - its a bit like a milkier version of an Egg Custard, though topped with cinnamon instead of nutmeg, and its lush. Very lush!
So this week is mainly running down the fridge and freezer - planning a big shop at the weekend so I need to make space! My weeks shifts are a mixed bag as always with lates, nights and earlies, along with 4 various medical appointments and so it fits around them too!
Harissa pork kebabs. Butternut Squash Israeli couscous with sultanas and almonds.
Spicy Sweet potato wedges
Spag bol or leftovers (if there are any!)
Slow cooked Chinese Pork with wild rice.
Pancakes filled with leftovers
Satay Chicken noodles or very similar!
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Since first tasting Indian food many, many years back I have always loved onion bhajis and over the last few years gone a bit more experimental with making my own – we all adore my aubergine bhaji’s and they are a regular make in our house but sometimes its nice to try something new and I’d had a packet of beetroot in the fridge lurking in the hope of a sunnier today but as the weather has been so utterly vile this winter, salad has not been on the menu and I found myself looking for alternative uses..
These really were made up essentially as I went along and a nod towards the aubergine ones I make, and despite making a separate batch of red onion bhajis for beetroot hating dad – he actually ending up enjoying the beetroot ones! You can make them gluten free by using an alternative flour to the plain flour - I've used Dove's farm in the past with excellent results.
The beetroot is earthy and sweet but given a lift with the aromatic mint and spices and the crispy batter makes them rather moreish! You have been warned! Bhaji’s are very easy to make, and you can re-heat them in a warm oven so are handy to make ahead of your meal. They are also very cheap to make and are a great, easy little starter or a side to your dinner!
Makes about 18 bhaji's depending on your spoon size!
260g diced cooked beetroot
½ red onion, diced
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp dried mint
150g gram flour
50g plain flour
250ml ice cold water
Sunflower oil for frying
Dice the beetoot and onion into 1/2cm cubes, place in a bowl with all the spices and toss together.
Seperately sieve the flours together, and mix in the water to form a batter, whisk well and mix in the vegetables.
Heat 1 inch of sunflower oil in a deep saucepan (or deep fat fryer) and once a little drop of batter browns within 30 seconds, place spoonfuls of the mixture carefully into the hot oil. Ideally wear an apron as they can spit! Fry them for about 3 minutes, then gently flip over for a further 2-3 minutes or until bubbling and the batter has cooked through. Use a heatproof spoon to occasionally spoon the hot oil over the bhajis to help cook through but very carefully - it will be very hot!
If the oil starts getting too hot and the mixture is burning then turn down the temperature a little. Place the cooked bhaji's onto kitchen paper and repeat with the remaining mixture.
Serve with raita to dunk into.
I have sent my recipe over to the 'Inspired Fakeaway's #Recipe of The Week' post held at A Mummy Too this week:
And over to Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary 'No Waste Food Challenge' held by London Unattached this month - as the Beetroot literally had one day left on the sell by date when I used it! What a waste if I had not made the bhaji's!